Court: KY law protects Christian businessman

Monday, April 27, 2015
Charlie Butts (

A Kentucky judge has ruled that a T-shirt company in Lexington can operate his business according to his faith and the government can't force him to do otherwise.

More than three years ago, Blaine Adamson of "Hands On Originals" declined to print T-shirts promoting a homosexual "pride" parade, explaining the messages he would be printing conflicted with his religious beliefs. Last year Adamson was found guilty of discrimination by the Lexington-Fayette Urban Rights Commission. Alliance Defending Freedom appealed that ruling to the Fayette County Circuit Court, which today reversed the Commission's decision.

Alliance Defending FreedomIt's a "great day for freedom," says ADF attorney Jim Campbell. "The government can't force citizens to surrender their free speech rights or their religious liberty in order to run a small business – and this decision affirms that principle," he states.

The court concluded Adamson didn't violate the law by refusing to help promote the Lexington Pride Festival hosted by the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO).

"In short, [Hands On Originals'] declination to print the shirts was based upon the message of GLSO and the Pride Festival and not on the sexual orientation of its representatives or members," the court wrote. "In point of fact, there is nothing in the record before the Commission that the sexual orientation of any individual that had contact with HOO was ever divulged or played any part in this case."

ADF attorney Jim Campbell says the court "rightly recognized" that the law protects Adamson's decision not to print shirts with messages that conflict with his beliefs, and that "no sufficient reason exists for the government to coerce [him] to act against his conscience in this way."

A 'firm peg' for religious freedom

Kent Ostrander, who heads the Family Foundation of Kentucky, says the ruling was based on the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and partially on the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Ostrander, Kent (Family Foundation of KY)"We are very pleased because this is a triumph for the freedom of conscience and religious freedom in America," he tells OneNewsNow. "It's consistent with where America has always been and with our concerns with the slide the culture has been going in and the court's sliding with it. This is a nice firm peg in the ground for religious freedom."

It's the kind of ruling needed to determine whether America will respect religious freedom anymore, he adds.

"... In some sense, if you turn that inside out it actually determines whether we will respect the court system," says Ostrander, "because the court system has been in a freefall, following culture rather than following the law. And this gives everybody heart that the court system is not worth tearing apart at this point."

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